European Microfinance Award 2017: Microfinance for Housing - Building New Foundations in Housing Microfinance

Date Published: 
Apr 2018
Sam Mendelson, Katarzyna Pawlak, Ewa Bankowska, Daniel Rozas & Gabriela Erice

What can financial institutions serving the world’s poor do to address their housing needs?

Microfinance has seen much innovation in recent years that has broadened client offerings beyond enterprise microcredit. Yet the one area with arguably the greatest potential – housing microfinance – has been around for nearly as long as microfinance itself. For decades it has remained niche – not seen as income-generating, or about enterprise, and so distinct from the traditional microfinance narrative. This may finally be changing.

This paper demonstrates both how much innovation is underway in housing microfinance, and also how much remains to be done in order to have the high impact on low-income populations’ lives that is possible with housing microfinance. It draws on the fascinating and diverse housing programs of the European Microfinance Award 2017 winner and semi-finalists and distills the varied initiatives into seven factors for success.